Two of Mr. Biden’s granddaughters have lived in the city and attended the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia, which was also the alma mater of Mr. Biden’s son Beau, who died in 2015, and the president-elect’s daughter, Ashley, who reportedly still lived in the city as of last month.
After Mr. Biden’s vice presidency, the university became a key part of his professional base, establishing the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington.
He was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars as a professor by the university, and several of his close advisers, including possible appointees in the nascent Biden administration, were affiliated at various times with the center. They include Steve Ricchetti, the Biden campaign’s chairman and the president-elect’s former vice-presidential chief of staff, as well as Brian McKeon, Colin Kahl, Michael Carpenter and Dan Erikson, former advisers to Mr. Biden.
When Mr. Biden began his presidential bid, he chose Philadelphia for the campaign’s headquarters, as well as his announcement speech and kickoff fund-raiser, which was held at a home in the city’s leafy West Mount Airy neighborhood belonging to David L. Cohen, a senior executive at Comcast. Mr. Cohen, who is also the chairman of the board of trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, had participated in the ribbon-cutting for the Biden Center.
Mr. Biden’s campaign staff had a number of Philadelphia-area natives in prominent roles, including its national political director, Erin Wilson.
To increase turnout in the city, Democrats pulled out all of the stops. They called in celebrity reinforcements like Debra Messing and Kathy Najimy and sent them knocking on doors. They lined up John Legend to croon for a packed parking lot. And they dispatched top political surrogates, including former President Barack Obama and Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, to campaign in the city.
Local Democrats augmented the effort. Representative Dwight Evans organized car caravans to snake through neighborhoods in his district, which includes parts of North Philadelphia and West Philadelphia, honking at residents to remind them to vote. On Sunday, his caravan drove for 35 miles. Philadelphia stretches just 15 miles north to south.